The News Mill decided not to go closer to Swathi or use camera flash so as not to disturb her (July 14, 2017)

Swathi, at 20-plus years, probably one of the oldest living tigers in India, draws special care at the Assam State Zoo in Guwahati. Swathi who was born in Mysore in 1997 has given birth to 11 cubs which are in different zoos across the country now.

The Guwahati zoo officials are enthusiastic to celebrate her 21st birthday in January next year.

“She is very special. Even at this age she responds to the zoo keepers. The zoo keepers can go near her cage to feed her and provide medicine. And from our part we try to give the best of the facilities to her,” Tejas Mariswamy, DFO of Assam state zoo division, told The News Mill.

Swathi was brought to the Guwahati zoo in 2005 and ever since her arrival, the majestic Royal Bengal Tigress has given birth to six cubs. And out of these six, three cubs have been exchanged with Jamshedpur Tata Zoological park, two are in Raipur Zoo and another one is here. Swathi’s two other male cubs Lachit and Silarai died here.

Swathi is 20 years and six months old which is regarded exceptional case of lifespan of tigers. And of late, due to her age, the zoo authorities need to take extra care. Symptoms of senility, corneal opacity, weight-loss and muscular atrophy among others can be seen in Swathi.

“We need to take special care of her. We are providing her boneless meat as she has lost teeth. Besides, we are monitoring her health with the help of experts on daily basis. But what makes her special is she always been a very mild one. We can go closer to her enclosure,” said BK Kakoty, a veterinary officer.

In captivity the big cat lives up to 18 years and in wild it survives up to maximum 15 years.

Mariswamy, the DFO, also said that they are going to celebrate the birthday of Swathi in a grand way in January next year. At present, there are three tigers at the state zoo, including Swathi.

In 2014, Guddu, a Royal Bengal Tiger died at the age of 26 at Kanpur Zoo which was regarded as the oldest so far.

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About Abdul Gani


Abdul Gani is a Guwahati-based journalist


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